What is the difference in braxton hicks and real contractions?

Been having contractions, but I don’t actually notice them! The reason I know that I’m not noticing them is because I went to L&D today for a false alarm and while being monitored I had a couple contractions. But when they happened it felt like baby just stretching.

Now I’m having MORE contractions/stretching and still can’t decipher what is what. .

I’m worried I won’t know when it’s time to go, and that I’ll miss my window to get an epidural :weary:. I’m 38.5 weeks.

Is it bad for me to wait for my water to break or for the pain to get worse? Thanks❤️


If it’s not painful at all you definitely don’t need to go. Wait till they hurt bad enough to complain!

I definitely wouldn’t wait for your water to break bc it might not. Is your belly getting hard/tight when you feel the “baby stretching”? Can you time it?

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If they’re close together I’d go in or call my doctor. I know some women who barely felt there’s until last minute. And some women’s water doesn’t break by itself so I definitely wouldn’t wait until then if having contractions. Did they say if you were dilated any??

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If every 5 mins lasting 45 seconds each time they time to go in but if irregular try not to stress your no hun trust me xx

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not true ^^ everyone is different & not all contractions bring you to your knees or hurt incredibly bad. my first pregnancy i was only 16. i woke up at 5 to get ready for school , was having some pains but nothing to bad. i walked to my bus stop about 5 minutes from my house & went to school. ONLY reason i went home was bc i was nauseous. left school around 8am & when i got to the doctor 15 minutes away i was at 6cm dilated.

I was in L&D last night for the same exact thing! I’m almost 38 weeks. By what I described they told me my water broke. But a few tests later revealed that it did not and I got sent him. But since they did an exam my baby has been moving and stretching Much more today!! They kinda just told me to wait it out and call my midwife if anything changes.

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They don’t always hurt bad enough to need to go in. My first kid they weren’t bad at all but my mom insisted I go get checked since I was 38 weeks. I went in and yup was admitted 5cm dilated and had my son less than 6 hours later

Oh trust me hunny…when it’s really the time …you’ll :100: know it. :joy: … Unless your contractions are REGULAR or unless your WATER BREAKS …they’ll just send you home again.

Just wait till you know your in labour and contractions are regular

My water never broke with any of my 3 kids, I went through labor at home with one of them and I waited too long to go, had him before they even moved me to a delivery room, & I wasn’t hooked up to anything. Once you get to 5cm if you’re dilated at all it should go quick from that point . But everyone is different. I was 10cm with all 3 before the doc had to break my water because it didn’t break on its own ever

If you get to the hospital and they say its too late for an epidural, that means youre almost done anyways lol


:heart:…OP Here…:heart:

They were unable to check dialation, somthing about it “being to the side”

Also, good point on water not always breaking. With my first my water didn’t break until I was at the hospital and dialated 8cm

My contractions weren’t painful but I dont feel them either till they broke my water at 8cm or till I’m about 8cm I’ve got a high pain level I dont get any pain meds so I never worried about that I just kinda had a feeling it was time

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Oh, you will know. :wink:

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I went to 8cm not knowing. Contractions weren’t happening. I just made it for epidural. Now with my twins I had those contractions too. I didn’t know but they were there

Coughing and moving can also make it look like you’re having contractions.

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Believe me u will know when the real contractions start


I had Braxton hicks for 2 months before my son was born, I didnt notice then at all. Then for the last 2 or 3 weeks had contractions and didnt notice. I didnt actually notice them until my water broke, but not everyone’s breaks on it’s own. Within 5 mins of my water breaking I started feeling them and just KNEW it was time to go. You’ll know mama dont stress it!

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I felt my abdominal muscles tightening. The nurse said they were contractions. I was 3 weeks past due and the doctor broke the sack at 8:00 am. There was no water. He came back at 6:00 PM and said, “I’m not leaving 'till this baby is born.” She arrived at 7:35 pm. 7 lb 2 oz. My husband was sent to Germany when our baby was due. I was alone.


With my first i didnt feel contractions at all, the only reason i knew ot cuz i was in the hospital and the machine was marking them…i ended up dilating .5 centimeters and a c section.

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My water never broke til i was 9cm at the hospital, you’ll deffo know when your having strong contractions! Wait til your 5mins apart and go in, and u dont need an epidural, woman have been doing this for years. Good luck

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Your water doesnt always break on its own…its actually less common for it to do so…I say once the contraction become uncomfortable or noticeable then go in…cant hurt anything going too early!

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Youll know when its time for Sure :rofl:

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Also…theres tons of free contraction timers you can download in the app stores…just time it every time you feel that tight baby stretching feeling! Good luck momma! I’m 35 weeks today & already dilated to a 3! Tomorrow Mark’s 5 weeks since I had the bloody show & lost my entire mucus plug…surprised but thankful I’ve lasted this long…lost my plug gradually without the bloody show with my 1st daughter & my water broke at 35 weeks to the day & I gave birth to a healthy 5lb 3.2oz baby…today they weighed my 2nd at 5lb 4oz but also wasnt sure she was able to measure her entire head or not cuz she too low!


I had to be induced, and when I was hooked up to that big machine that keeps track of contractions, I realized I had been having them for almost a MONTH and didn’t know. I just thought he was stretching out. :upside_down_face:


My friend had her water break 3 hours before she called me to take her in. She was contracting every 2 minutes and still had time for an epidural after all the paperwork and getting her into a room. Relax and just listen to your body. There’s no wrong time to go into L&D. All they will do is keep checking you and sending you home. No big deal. Stay calm and best wishes to you and your baby.

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I started having contractions in my 5th month for my son. You will definitely know when they are real. If you have any concerns go to your doctor, that is what you pay him for. Voice your concerns and don’t leave until you get an answer that satisfies your worries.

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My water didn’t break until my babies were crowing so I don’t recommend waiting for that. If you feel the „stretching“ come kn a regular pattern or it gets stronger and closer together definitely go in. Either it’s better to be safe and get checked again.

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My first 4 were natural, no pain meds. #4 weighed 10.1. The next two were c-sections.

My water NEVER broke. They always had to break it.

Time your contractions. If they are 5 mins or less go in.

First child i assume.

You will know, but the best way is to time then and see how close they are and how long they last. And I doubt you will miss your window. I went quickly with all 4 of my boys (about 3 1/2 hrs from start of labor to birth) and with the last one they were busy so I didn’t get my epidural until I was at an 8 and it still worked for me

No my contractions hurt but nevrr dialated last a 1 with my 1st son. Waited til my water broke.
2nd bad contractions but could still talk through them not dilating go in to be induced due to preeclampsia at 40 wks 1 day turns out his cord had a blockage and he wouldve never survived active labor. They took him by c section
Dr told me when youre doing housework or keeping yourself busy and they get so strong you cant talk and/or can feel them while being preoccupied its time to go check

I had contractions and I went in and they checked me I wasnt very dilated like 2 centimeters. They kept me to monitor then said they were gonna send me home literally got up to pee when I was washing my hands my water broke

You should go to hospital at about 3 to 4 minutes apart

Literally just had my baby (8 days old!) & was told my L&D team that there’s isn’t an “expiration” window for the epidural. I was like you and thought there was a certain “no return” point but they said as long as you are able to sit still enough during your contractions (hella hard! I was 6cm when I got mine) you can get one :woman_shrugging:

Girl I’m my 3rd pregnancy in and still don’t know what a contraction is supposed to feel like. With #1 I went in for a non stress test and they ended up admitting me cause apparently I was in labor but the “contractions” didn’t feel any worse than period cramps to me. And my period has never bothered me. Lmao. I’m 35 weeks with #3 and just my luck I’ll do the same thing again. My water never broke with 1 and 2. So yeah.

So. When it’s real, you’ll know. Braxton Hicks are not real, they’re practice, and that’s what your going through right now. When you can’t talk through a contraction, that’s when it’s getting real.

I had hours of contractions that just felt like baby moving. Once they start getting painful you’ll know it’s time to go